Saturday, May 14, 2011

Take Honey Leave Money

Take Honey Leave Money

When the late blooming narcissus lift their fair faces to the strong breezes of changing temperatures,

when the lilacs are especially fragrant,

and the bleeding hearts are blushing in deepest pink,

asparagus is ready for harvesting.

Having not lived in one place long enough to harvest mature asparagus spears (although I have planted this perennial and wonder who might be harvesting them now) I depend on my neighbors’ gardens.

Down a country road sits a little house surrounded by large gardens. I take advantage of their produce. “Should we stop for more aspar-a-grass? Dean asks - emphasis on the grass. I'm quite used to his wisecracks but still find them funny. He discretely passes up this vegetable at the table. Nevertheless, I cook oodles of it this time of year for our family and whoever chances to stop by.

On a breezy day this May, Dean slipped some dollars into the plastic container while I removed two bunches of asparagus from the water they were standing in. I was dreaming up the next dish. I’ll admit to hanging onto one (now vintage) 90’s blue jean skirt. I attempted to “smarten” it with a brown tweed blazer as I was hastening out the house. It’s a hand-me-down from one of my traditionalist friends.

Craving a juicy lunch of something fresh and green and citrus-y, I made some honey mustard dressing.

1/3 Cup olive oil
1/3 Cup lemon juice
1 Tbl honey
1 Tbl mustard
salt & pepper
chopped herbs

After washing asparagus, peeling it is an important step. This enables the spears to cook in less time and thus remain bright green. They are also easier to chew. In a large shallow pan I simmer until fork tender, often simmering a quantity in separate batches.


A salad is so refreshing. My windowsill harvest of alfalfa sprouts reappear here.  

This morning I made a breakfast sandwich of asparagus and melted cheddar cheese on whole-wheat toast. It is a scrumptious springtime breakfast.

I’ve been gobbling up Edith Schaeffer’s chapter on food in her Hidden Art of Homemaking. At the bottom of a page of inspiring suggestions and high ideals one sentence reads,

“Being challenged by what a difference her cooking and her way of serving is going to make in the family life gives a woman an opportunity to approach this with the feeling of painting a picture or writing a symphony.” Page 124 

I’d like to feel this artistic sense more than I do. I have found, however, that anticipating a new fruit or vegetable in season motivates me to combine ever-present kitchen duties with a touch of art. Reading the ideals held up so affirmatively by Edith Schaeffer, helps too. It’s been years since I last read them. 

These asparagus peelings were reserved for the earthworms that live in a garden of lupines and pin cushion plants. With a few sweeps of the hoe they can be worked directly into the soil without composting.   

Potato peelings keep the earthworms well fed, too.

In turn the pincushion plants are happy and so are the butterflies.  

Don’t you love spring?

Comments are welcome. I will read them while I am away for a bit. The bleeding hearts in this post mark one year of blogging. Thanks for visiting, Karen Andreola 


  1. Dear Karen,
    Thanks for your visit a bit ago. I do love asparagus and my husband is less than ecstatic when I put it on the table:-) I love it roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh S&P and parmesan cheese. Now, I have a craving...LOL! Your salad sounds delicious and I must give that a try soon! I enjoyed a glimpse at your lovely plants.

  2. Yes Karen,

    I love spring too!!!

    Oh the beautiful photos you have here and the yummy meals:)

    Thanks for sharing this.

  3. It was great to see you this weekend!

    I am new to eating asparagus but I do like it, in moderation. :)

    I love your bleeding heart - I must add some to my garden.

    You are the second person this week to mention a reread of Edith Schaeffer's book "Hidden Art." I must get it off the shelf and reread it myself.

    I'll be thinking of you on Monday!


  4. I love your kitchen. More pics please. :0)

  5. Hi Karen. I have just recently found your blog and I'm enjoying it soooo much! Thank you for all the wonderful and gentle encouragement.

    I don't know if you will remember me but we met a few years ago. My name is Deborah and I live in England (married to a wonderful Englishman) and we home educate. My parents used to live in Oxford PA and I contacted you before visiting them a few years ago and we met up at a restaurant in Quarryville for pie and tea and a wonderful afternoon!

    My parents now live in Willow Street and my brother and SIL live in Quarryville near to you! They have two beautiful little girls and are just starting their home schooling journey with the eldest. I bought my SIL your Charlotte Mason Companion at Christmas to encourage her on her journey, as it is my favourite and most read home schooling book! :o)

    Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and tell you how much I'm enjoying your blog. Especially the pictures of the Lancaster countryside - a beautiful reminder of my old home.

  6. Hidden Art is our family's traditional wedding shower gift. I discovered it several years ago while browsing the shelves in a bookstore. What a treasure.

    My son is the reluctant asparagus consumer around our house. I try to serve it with other vegetables. When our children were young, we used to say, "You must choose something green for your plate, and jello doesn't count."

    Karen, I like the way your sink is fitted into the cabinet. We also have a big window over our kitchen sink. Since I spend so much time there, I am very grateful.


  7. Karen,
    I love the deep gold color of your cabinets and the deep sink. Your salad looks lovely.
    Sarah B.

  8. You are further along in spring than we are. I can't wait to see the lilacs bloom soon and I really want to find a place to plant Bleeding Hearts somewhere. Thank you for reminding me of Edith Schaeffer’s book. I need to pull mine out and start savoring it once again. Loved seeing your bit of spring in your neck of the woods.

    Blessings in Him<><

  9. I love so much in this post, but I absolutely *adore* the sink and the kitchen units. Oh .... dreamy!

  10. Spring is wonderful! I'm glad to know when to check my asparagus patch!